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Q. We are considering using powder coating for our steel parts. We have used liquid coating for several years but we have problems with performance and appearance, and we think that powder may hold up better based on what we have read and heard.

Is powder better than liquid coating? G.R.


A. This is a simple sounding question that does not have a simple answer.

There are many different kinds of liquid coatings, and many of them have outstanding performance characteristics. You need to compare specific materials to find out what is best.

Start by looking at the part surface and the soils and contamination that may affect the coating. Consider how each coating will work over that surface after it is cleaned with your current cleaning method. Look at coatings that have appearance and performance that match the end-use of the product.

Compare the liquid and powder for applied cost per square foot, compliance with environmental laws, and ease of application, handling and storage. In some cases, the powder will be the winner and in others it may be a suitable liquid.

The advantages of the liquid are ease of color matching and a wider variety of chemistries and formulas for different substrates, temperatures, and applications. The advantages of powder are a single coat application, excellent environmental compliance, a touch durable film, ease of application, and the ability to reclaim over-spray for high material utilization.

Put all of these comparisons in a table and you should be able to see which is the best option for your parts.